I sat on the hotel room bed, somewhere between my old life and my new one. After eighteen hours of driving, I was tired, and I wanted nothing more than the comfort of soft sheets and a quiet room to help me forget my worries.
Unfortunately, I had sprang for a $99 hotel room in Regina, and instead of silence and soft sheets, I was greeted with what sounded like a wrestling match outside my room and the unusual feeling of a bed made from what one can only describe as gently used sandpaper.
I was not having the best weekend. Waking at two in the morning on Friday, I set out on a twelve hour drive to retrieve my car, which had been getting repaired after colliding with a deer on an Alberta highway. Ever since that accident, I had been a little timid on highways, and I wasn’t exactly excited to embark on the start of this journey in the dark.
Working up the nerve to reach the speed limit on the highway was a little tricky, but about an hour outside of Winnipeg I started to feel comfortable. Then, perhaps because I had just reached a point where I wasn’t clenching my jaw, I entered into what can only be described as a deer convention. There were so many of them. I slammed on my breaks, and stopped about an inch short of a doe. She stared at me for a moment, and I quickly looked at my surroundings. It was three a.m. on a Friday, the highway was shrouded in complete darkness, and the only other vehicle I had seen on the road was a semitrailer about fifteen minutes ago. That moment, that very precise moment, is when I allowed myself to have a little pity party. I felt warm tears roll down my cheeks, and the windshield started to fog up in front of me.
I thought back to the past summer. To my desire to go back to the comfort of Alberta. To see my friends, to be in the mountains again, to pretend for even a little while that the last eight years of my life hadn’t been lived in vain. I remember a powerful feeling of safety when I had returned there in August, almost as if the familiar had scooped me up into a cocoon, far away from harm’s reach.
And here I was. I didn’t feel so safe now. Alone, in the dark, on a highway in the middle of the country. Wishing I hadn’t gone to Alberta in the first place, while simultaneously cursing my decision to do so. What I thought would bring me great comfort, had ultimately brought on more stress and anxiety.
Running away can only do so much. It might help you for a while, it may even bring you a sense of peace, but with that peace comes a wakeup call. For me, sitting in that hotel room on my way back to Winnipeg, I realized whatever comforts I thought Alberta could provide to me were gone. They were merely an illusion, one that looked like a warm home, but was cold and empty inside once you opened the door.
I looked out the window at the grey, swirling sky, and took a breath. It was time to stop searching for peace in distant places.
It is time to find it where it has always been.